The European Commissioner for Agriculture said he believes Europe's Common Agriculture Policy can and must do more to create rural jobs.

Phil Hogan added that the CAP must contribute to the fight against climate change, and help Ireland to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking at the Annual Conference of the Agriculture science association in Naas, Co Kildare, Mr Hogan said he believes that no comparable EU policy has the capacity to deliver on these targets.

Farmers, he said, are our "boots on the ground" to get the job done but that they have faced unprecedented challenges over the past two-and-a-half years.

Mr Hogan said it is time to improve the policy supports for farmers in times of such crisis and to make them more resilient in a globalised world.

He said he is looking to make changes to the CAP to deliver the world's first agriculture policy, which might be described as truly fit for the 21st Century.

He said that this is politically delicate work, which will have a strong impact on the agri-food sector across Europe, not least in Ireland.

The changes being considered would accelerate uptake of innovation and technology throughout the sector, including on farms but also at every level of the food value chain.

Mr Hogan also spoke about the potential for using satellite technology to replace intrusive farm inspections while at the same time assisting in farm controls and eliminating a costly layer of bureaucracy.

He said the adoption of new technologies in agriculture needs to be speeded up, warning that the future will not wait.

The commissioner called on farmers to raid their level of environmental ambition and said they must be rewarded for that contribution.

He said it is important to acknowledge the enormous environmental contribution that farmers have made in recent decades, including reducing their level of greenhouse gas emissions by 23% since 1990. 

He also said there is sometimes a lazy narrative that likes to portray farmers as part of the problem when it comes to addressing the climate challenge, but in reality farmers must be and, indeed already are, part of the solution.

He said that without farmers the game is up and that it is therefore essential that policies are put in place to help them.